Welcome to Ness Bank Parish Church, a Church of Scotland congregation. We are a Presbyterian church and part of the Reformed tradition.
Ness Bank Church’s vision is to be a church without walls reaching out in faith to our parish and beyond with the light, the love, the hope and the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We serve Christ in many different ways at Ness Bank Church, but at the heart of all that we do week by week is our faith in Jesus Christ and central to that is our Sunday morning worship – come and see for yourself, you are assured of a warm welcome and you may just find it transforms your life.
Ness Bank Church remains a church.
Our normal worship services, in line with the Church of Scotland guidance, have now ceased.
Our service to the homeless and vulnerable remains operational - food is being distributed outside the church building on Tuesday and Thursdays between 1.30 to 2.30 pm and on Saturdays between 2 to 3 pm.
We are here for all people in this time of crisis. Further details will follow.
Please know that you are all in my prayers and together we will get through this hugely difficult time.
Rev Fiona Smith
25 March 2020 Pastoral Letter to the Congregation
“The Lord said (to Elijah), “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” (1 Kings 19: 11-13)
The presence of the Lord our God is found in a gentle whisper – a still small voice of calm.
The Psalmist tells us the Lord says: ‘Be still and know that I am God’
In the whirlwind and frenzy of hour by hour changes to our daily lives as a result of Covid-19 all of us need a place of peace – to step back from all that threatens to overwhelm us and be still for the presence of the Lord is with us.
Now hear the Word of the Lord
Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Anyone who dwells in me, as I dwell in him, bears much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Dwell in my love. If you heed my commands you will dwell in my love, as I have heeded my Father's commands and dwell in his love.
I have spoken this to you, so that my joy may be in you, and your joy complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you."
Last Sunday morning at the manse the four of us sat around the kitchen table and I led an act of worship which included the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper – our hearts were joined with you all.
In the prayer after communion I said these words:
“Loving God, we praise you for your goodness to us at our Lord's table. You have fed us with the bread of life, made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth, and assured us of your everlasting love.”
Through the power of the Holy Spirit we remain united as one people; we remain the church even though we can no longer gather together for our regular pattern of worship.
The past 10 days have been frenetic, but I am so thankful to my elders and district visitors who made contact with each of you last week. Pastoral care remains a top priority – if you need any help please contact your elder or district visitor – we have set up a volunteer list of people who can assist with shopping/getting prescriptions. Please also do not hesitate to call me – I remain your minister.
The service will be recorded and then uploaded to the Ness Bank Church website https://www.nessbank.net
I will also upload the written copy of the service to the website.
Please can you also send us your e-mail address to Mary Thomson firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can keep in regular contact with you without incurring more costs than we need to.
For those not online but still wish to receive a copy of the service please telephone your elder/district visitor or Wym Simpson and we will make alternative arrangements.
Paul wrote the following in his Letter to the Philippians 4: 4-7:
“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Please pray and please especially remember in your prayers all who are working in the NHS who are at the frontline of this pandemic serving us all.
Every Sunday at 5pm the Prayer Group will ‘meet’ in their homes for a time of intentional prayer for the world, for the church and for one another. Please let me or Wym Simpson know if you have any specific prayer requests and these will be passed on. And do join them in prayer.
Our fantastic kitchen which we as a church family worked so hard to put into our church building has become a vital support to so many in our community, parish and city over the recent years. Although all other activities have had to cease in our building Inverness Foodstuff remains operational because it is an essential service. We made the decision to stop the café on 14 March and set up a whole new system with strict protocols in place to ensure that the homeless and vulnerable who literally rely on us to eat are still being fed. We are working with the Highland Council and the NHS and we are looking at other ways in which we can assist with ensuring that food gets to those who are most in need.
Please keep Inverness Foodstuff, especially our volunteers, in your prayers.
Our weekly giving to the church is part of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Although we are not gathering for worship and all our other activities in Ness Bank Church have ceased the vast majority of our normal costs will still need to be paid – these include Ministries & Mission; local staff costs; insurance; annual statutory tests; council tax; phone & other related costs. The only bills which will be reduced slightly will be heating & lighting.
Our current budgeted monthly costs are £12,955. We now will only be receiving through those who give by Standing Orders and from Inverness Foodstuff - £8,800 per month – this leaves us with a monthly deficit of £4,495.
If you don’t already, please can I ask you to seriously think about changing giving your weekly offering to Standing Order. A Standing Order is controlled completely by you. I enclose a Standing Order Form for you to complete.
If you wish to continue to use the FWO envelopes can I, please, ask you to write one cheque and encllose it in your envelope and post it to the church on a regular basis.
Each Sunday I will continue to Dedicate our offerings to the Lord.
Weddings, Baptisms & funerals
Please remember in your prayers the couples who I was to marry and whose weddings have had to be postponed. Please remember too wee Murdo Mackay and his family whose baptism has also had to be postponed.
Funerals are currently still taking place but only with immediate family present. I will do all that I can to give pastoral care and support to families who are grieving – please remember them all in your prayers as well.
When I was ordained & inducted as your minister on 15 January 2010, I made vows to the Lord to love, serve and pray for you – this does not change despite these hugely difficult times. My heart is filled with love for you all. And remember STAY HOME.
Every blessing to you all